Exploring Kashmir and Ladakh is a dream come true for many travellers. These regions in northern India are known for their stunning natural beauty and rich culture says, Capt. Ambrish Sharma. Not only that, there are adventurous activities to explore, food to tantalise your taste buds, and great places to feed the eyes.
“Kashmir and Ladakh are places that deserve a pilgrimage at least once in a lifetime. These places have a lot to offer avid travellers and capturing everything in one post can be challenging,” Capt. Ambrish Sharma says. Hence, Capt. Ambrish Sharma, an avid traveller provides a glimpse of the top things to do during a Kashmir and Ladakh tour:
Srinagar: Start your journey in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. Visit Dal Lake, where you can take a Shikara ride and stay in a houseboat. Explore the Mughal Gardens, especially Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh.
Srinagar is famous for its handicrafts, particularly Pashmina shawls, Kashmiri rugs, and papier-mâché items. Don’t forget to visit local markets like Lal Chowk and Residency Road for an enjoyable shopping experience.
Srinagar is also a home to culinary delights. : Try the traditional Kashmiri feast called Wazwan. Taste the fragrant Kashmiri Pulao, made with saffron, dried fruits, and aromatic spices. Then, savour succulent Kashmiri kebabs
Gulmarg: Known as the “Meadow of Flowers,” Gulmarg offers excellent opportunities for trekking, golfing, and the famous Gulmarg Gondola ride, one of the highest cable cars in the world. This world of beauty has become a must-visit for sport lovers. And for your romantic trip, the beautiful flowers of Gulmarg, coupled with the mountains blanketed in snow is a perfect backdrop for a magical, romantic setting.
When the hunger pangs struck, try Gushtab, featuring tender meatballs in a creamy yoghurt gravy. Rista; another Wazwan specialty. Gulp it down with Kahwah tea, a special Kashmiri green tea infused with spices and saffron.
Pahalgam: This serene town is a gateway to the Amarnath Yatra. Go for a pony ride, enjoy river rafting, or simply take a leisurely walk along the Lidder River. Moreover, you can go and breathe in the serene beauty of the Betaab and be welcomed by the stunning landscapes.
For food, savour dishes like Rogan Josh, Dum Aloo, and the famous Wazwan feast. Also, try the traditional Kashmiri bread, Sheermal
Sonmarg: The “Meadow of Gold” is known for its breathtaking landscapes, trekking trails, and opportunities for trout and mahseer fishing. Take a drive through the Sind Valley, which is particularly enchanting during spring and summer. The lush greenery and colorful flowers create a mesmerizing backdrop.
Try the local Kashmiri cuisine, which is known for its rich and aromatic flavors. Don’t miss out on dishes like Rogan Josh, Yakhni, Dum Aloo, and Gushtaba, which are staples of the Kashmiri culinary tradition.
Leh: In Ladakh, Leh is the main hub. Explore the Leh Palace, visit monasteries like Hemis and Thiksey, and acclimatize to the high altitude.
Here are some culinary delights to try: Momos; steamed and fried, often filled with meat or vegetables. Enjoy a earty noodle soup with vegetables or meat-Thukpa. Explore Tsampa; atraditional Ladakhi staple made from roasted barley flour, often eaten with yogurt or butter tea.
Nubra Valley: Cross the Khardung La Pass, one of the highest motorable roads in the world, to reach Nubra. Enjoy a double-humped camel ride in the sand dunes of Hunder.
Pangong Lake: This stunning high-altitude lake is famous for its ever-changing shades of blue. Spend a night in a lakeside camp for a surreal experience.
Tso Moriri: Another mesmerizing high-altitude lake, it’s a less-crowded alternative to Pangong. The landscape is rugged and beautiful.
Zanskar Valley: Known for its isolated monasteries and thrilling trekking routes, Zanskar is a paradise for adventure enthusiasts.
Kargil: Visit the Kargil War Memorial, paying tribute to the soldiers who fought during the 1999 conflict. It’s a somber yet important stop.
Ladakhi Cuisine: Don’t miss trying traditional Ladakhi dishes like Momos, Thukpa, and Skew Capt. Ambrish Sharma suggests.
Attend Festivals: If your visit coincides, participate in festivals like the Ladakh Festival or Hemis Festival to witness the vibrant local culture.
Biking Adventures: Kashmir and Ladakh are a haven for bikers. The Manali-Leh Highway and Srinagar-Leh Highway offer epic road trips.
Stargazing: Due to the high altitude and minimal light pollution, both regions are excellent for stargazing. Consider camping under the night sky.
Rafting in Zanskar River: Experience thrilling white-water rafting in the Zanskar River, especially during the summer months.
Shopping for Souvenirs: Buy local handicrafts like Pashmina shawls, carpets, and Tibetan jewelry in Leh and Srinagar.
Explore Local Villages: Interact with the warm and welcoming local communities in Ladakh and Kashmir to understand their unique way of life.
Photography: Whether you’re a professional photographer or a casual snapper, the landscapes, people, and culture offer incredible photo opportunities.
Trekking: Embark on multi-day treks like the Markha Valley Trek, Stok Kangri Trek, or the Great Lakes Trek for a deeper immersion into the region’s beauty.
Relax and Reflect: Finally, take some time to simply relax and soak in the serene ambiance. These regions offer a peaceful respite from the chaos of city life.
Remember that Kashmir and Ladakh have distinct beauty and charm in every season, so plan your trip accordingly. “It’s a journey that will leave you with lasting memories and a deep appreciation for the incredible diversity of India’s northernmost regions” Capt. Ambrish Sharma concludes.